Interviewing and selecting candidates

Interviewing and selecting candidates

Done well, interviews help you assess candidates' qualifications as well as evaluate whether they will fit into your firm's culture. That's why leading firms are as diligent in preparing for an interview with a prospective employee as they are in preparing for a meeting with a prospective client.

To map out the interview and selection process:

Your interview team may or may not be the same as your recruitment team. Think carefully about which individuals in your firm will be best at evaluating the skills and background you're looking for. Include employees with varying backgrounds and experience, and ensure that the team represents diversity in gender, ethnicity, and age. Consider including junior employees in the interview process. It could be a great way to demonstrate that you value their opinion and that they have a stake in the future of the firm.

Once you've assembled your interview team, you'll need to determine who will serve as the single point of contact with each candidate. In addition, determine which team members will take responsibility for defining the interview process, drafting the questions, developing the evaluation and selection process, and keeping track of key dates and deliverables.

Use the interview process to get a full picture of the candidate's skills and personality.
 
Here are some approaches to consider:

  • Technical skills interview: This may include a skills test, case study, or demonstration.
  • Scenario-based interview: Candidates are asked a series of scenario-based questions. 
  • Social event: Meet for a meal or simply a coffee break. 
  • Closing "sell" interview: Set up a closing meeting to capture a candidate's reflections on the interview and interest in the role.

The best interview questions help you learn about candidates' past performance, determine their fit for your firm's culture, and assess their future potential. During the interview, ask only job-related questions, phrase them carefully, and cover the same categories for all applicants. 

Including nontraditional candidates in your job search—such as career changers or candidates returning to work after taking time off—is a great way to expand your talent pool. While these candidates may lack some of the relevant work experience you expect, they may still bring a wealth of talent to your firm. To assess these candidates, you should consider amending or supplementing our interview guide with questions designed to find relevant, transferable skills. For example, you may choose to focus on problem solving, time management, and communication.

Do not ask about anything that the law prohibits you from considering when making a hiring decision, such as age, race, gender, religion, or disability. See our sample interview questions.

In preparation for the interview process, determine how you want to measure candidate performance. Consider using an evaluation form to ensure that interviewers are capturing notes effectively and submitting feedback to the team. The evaluation form and process can be modified based on the role. For example, you may decide that a candidate’s performance on a skills test or case study may carry greater weight than other skills in his or her overall evaluation.

Use a candidate tracking form to manage the recruiting process, from the date an application is received to the date an offer (or rejection) letter is sent. It’s important to ensure that every candidate has a positive experience with your firm, whether you hire them or not.

We try to hire in front of the need.1

James Knight, Vista Wealth Management

CTA

(1017-7K4L)

1. Schwab's RIA Firm of the Future Study, conducted for Schwab Advisor Services by Koski Research, 2015.

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